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Autism is a neurological condition typically diagnosed by the age of three. The traits of autism involve multiple major areas of development and impact the way a person:

  • Engages in reciprocal social interactions with others
  • Communicates with others;
  • Expresses their need for sameness and repetition; and
  • Experiences and response to sensory input from the world around them

One of the hallmarks of autism is that the characteristics vary significantly among different autistic children and adults. No two autistic people are the same. In addition, different autistic individuals will need support to greater or lesser degrees across a wide range of contexts. Autism is found in all cultures, genders, and socio-economic groups.

Like many other parent-led autism organizations, OAR is committed to serving the autism community; like many other research-focused autism organizations, OAR believes in the value of rigorous research and high-quality information. What is most unique about OAR is the ways in which we put these two commitments together:

  • OAR is the only autism organization with a singular focus on applied research i.e. studies that will help provide tangible, near-term, and practical benefits to the autism community. OAR does not fund biomedical research or research that aims to “cure” autism.
  • OAR provides resources for families, educators, and autistic people, making research more accessible and directly impactful. OAR’s Life Journey Through Autism series and other guidebooks provide information and practical advice on topics ranging from safety to special education to sibling support and more.  OAR’s Kit for Kids peer education program gives educators tools to promote autism acceptance and understanding in their classrooms.

OAR’s funding comes from many sources including contributions from individual donors, the Board of Directors, donations from other autism groups, corporate sponsorships, special events such as the RUN FOR AUTISM, Combined Federal Campaign and private workplace campaigns, and grants.  In short, the general public supports OAR. For more information or to make a donation online, visit our Support Us page or contact OAR’s staff.

Time and interest are all it takes. OAR is not a traditional membership organization and does not collect dues. Members of OAR are those who share in OAR’s values and interests. Some use OAR’s information resources in the various ways they experience autism in their lives and may never make a donation. Others are people whose time and interests include their personal talent, professional expertise, and financial support. All have equal standing within OAR’s ranks. What brings people to OAR and makes them part of the organization is their interest in OAR’s mission.

OAR announces grant opportunities through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process based upon research priorities developed by OAR’s Scientific Council. Depending on the specific area of interest and research objectives, OAR will solicit studies through open competition or through a directed competition. Read more about our Applied Research Grant, Graduate Research Grant, or the studies OAR has funded.

A pilot study is an initial or preliminary investigation designed to test research hypotheses, gather data, and validate the scientific approach and methodology for a particular area of research interest. It is important as a test bed for ideas and as an evaluation and assessment measure before investing further in a major study. Especially for new and up and coming investigators, pilot studies are vital stepping-stones to more significant grants. OAR’s intent in encouraging and supporting pilot studies is to stimulate new studies in applied research, specifically studies that result in outcomes, findings or knowledge of practical value to the autism community.